Good to know: You lose $1000 when you sell a RED Scarlet-X

October 11th, 2012

For many indie filmmakers the RED Scarlet-X is a powerful entry level 4K camera they can afford. Quite unknown is the fact that there’s a costly and complex process involved to transfer a RED camera to the next owner.

As some of you know we did quite a bit of testing on the RED Scarlet-X when it came out last year (LINK).
The cinema5D Scarlet-X video review was quite popular and we even shot a small no budget scene to test it (LINK).

It’s clear that the RED Scarlet-X is a powerful and nice camera. It’s wonderful to achieve this kind of quality on a true cinema camera that is affordable and comparably lightweight and small.
Every camera has downsides too, the pricepoint of the Scarlet is definitely something that makes many people hesitant when they compare it to a C300 or even a blackmagic cinema camera.

It is known that the price for the Scarlet body alone will not get you a working camera, but you need some expensive additional items to have a working kit. Even with the recent pricedrops for SSD mags (LINK) the kit cost adds a considerable amount of dollars to a Scarlet order.

What most people don’t know (including myself until recently), is that there are additional costs involved when you decide to sell a RED camera:
There is a cost of around $1000 involved to transfer ownership to the new user. Only then will the new user be able to use firmware updates and have access to RED’s repairing, maintenance and upgrade services.

Having written so much about the RED Scarlet-X I feel I have a certain responsibility to share this knowledge.

The details:
RED Scarlet-X was bought in December with a warranty of 1 year. Selling it in March meant losing warranty on the camera. Usually the warranty is something that is bound to the product giving you security that the product will work for at least 1 year. In RED’s case the warranty is bound to the owner and so it expires when you sell it.
You have the option to send the camera to RED (RED Europe in my case) for evaluation so the new owner will have a warranty of 3 more months. This costs £65 ($100).
For another £495 ($769) you can transfer ownership to the next owner.
Shipping for evaluation cost me only about 70€ ($86) each direction because I did not declare the real value (as RED suggested). Otherwise it would have been 140€ ($172) each direction.

This comes down to a cost of up to $1213.
Add to that several phone calls, signing, scanning and mailing forms, packaging and a wait of one or several weeks depending on the circumstances of all parties involved.

I mailed this list to Jarred Land from RED. As always he was friendly and responsive and explained RED’s reasons for this procedure:
It might seem odd to you.. but we dont look at our cameras as one time purchases.. we offer upgrade programs and trade-ins for the brains for the original owners of the cameras over time which is incredibly expensive… the red ones we gave full 100% credit for trade in to a Epic for example. We could just not allow any transfer of ownership and you would loose everything, we actually started out that way, but enough people wanted a paid transfer option so we did it.

We hope RED will change this policy back in the future. Because at the end of the day the sellers are the ones who have to pay for the transfer and they have no benefit whatsoever.

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